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UNHCR to collaborate with FG in fight against human trafficking

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By Deborah Coker

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reiterated its commitment to collaborating with the federal government in the fight against human trafficking.

Mrs Unyimen Johnson, Associate Project Officer, UNHCR, stated this during an event to commemorate the 2021 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons held in Benin on Friday.Johnson noted that the UNHCR was saddled with the mandate of protection of victims of human trafficking, especially those in need of international protection.

She stressed that human trafficking is evil, adding that the event was to enlighten potential victims of human trafficking on the dangers of irregular migration.She said that in view of this, the organisation would continue to collaborate with the federal government, non-governmental organisations, UN agencies, as well as the private sector to continue to deliver the message.She also noted that migration trends in the country included pronounced emigration of nationals for other countries in West Africa.“According to reports from stakeholders and Nigerians who have returned home, there is an increasing number of migrants desperate to leave the country by any means.

“Although the federal government has put in measures to counter trafficking in persons, Nigeria remains a country of origin, transit and destination for human trafficking.“Driven by the demand for cheap labour and commercial sex, trafficking rings across borders and within countries capitalise on economic, social and political vulnerabilities to exploit their victims.

“To further support and complement the efforts by the federal government, there is need for more collaboration among key government institutions.“The civil society organisation and the United Nations ought to sensitise the communities to human trafficking issues and where victims of trafficking can receive assistance and access to justice services,” he said.

Similarly Mr Aigbeze Unhiwme, who represented the International Office for Migration (IOM), Benin, restated IOM’s commitment to providing safe migration for Nigerians.Unhiwme who said that significant progress had been made in the fight against human trafficking in the state, however called on stakeholders and the society to join hands and do more so that the success would have tremendous impact.

He added that the war against human trafficking was gaining momentum due to the presence of NAPTIP and the Edo Government Committee against human trafficking.Mrs Chidiebere Ifudu, the Zonal Commander, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in her remarks said that the event was to commemorate the annual global event.Ifudu also said that the welfare of victims of human trafficking is paramount to the agency, adding that the agency is the focal agency saddled with fighting human trafficking.A five-kilometre sensitisation road- walk across major roads in Benin was carried out as part of activities to mark the day.

The theme for 2021 is “Victims Voice lead the Way”.UNIBEN announces resumption dates for 2020/2021 academic sessionBy Ruona IsikehThe University of Benin (UNIBEN) has announced its resumption dates for the 2020/2021 academic session.The Public Relations Officer of the institution, Dr Benedicta Ehanire, made the announcement in a statement on Monday in Benin.“Fresh students are expected to come into the halls of residence on Sunday 8th August, 2021, while their on-line clearance and registration continue on Monday 9th August.“Old students are expected on campus on Sunday 15th August, 2021, to commence registration of courses on Monday 16th August, after payment of school charges.“Registration by all students closes on Friday 3rd September, 2021, after which students will no longer have access to the portal of the university.“Please be mindful that students will neither be allowed into the halls of residence nor register for courses without payment of school charges,” she stated.

Ehanire said that the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lilian Salami, on behalf of the the management of the university, “looks forward to welcoming students back on campus.”MAN tasks banks on CBN forex directive complianceBy Joy OdigieThe Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged commercial banks to comply strictly with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive on the sale of foreign exchange to eligible customers.Dr Okwara Udensi, MAN Chairman, Edo/Delta chapter, made the appeal during an interview with journalists in Benin on Friday.Udensi expressed optimism that the CBN’s decision to channel foreign exchange allocations to commercial banks would strengthen the nation’s currency.

He added that the development would bring down the prices of imported raw materials.Udensi noted that the banks needed to assist the CBN in the implementation of the policy by not being involve in ‘sharp practices’.“The banks should keep to their own obligations, we don’t want situations where the banks will hoard the foreign currencies and say they are yet to receive supply from the CBN,” he said.He also appealed to the apex bank to give prompt response to bank customers with compliants as regards access to forex through its toll free lines.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said the Bureau De Change (BDC) operators had abandoned the main objective of their establishment, which is to serve the retail end-users who needed 5,000 dollars or less.Emefiele made the disclosure while briefing journalists at the end of a two-day meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in Abuja on Tuesday.He said they had become wholesale dealers and illegally transacted FX to the tune of millions of dollars per transaction.The CBN said that given the rent-seeking behaviour of the BDCs, the MPC decided with immediate effect to discontinue the sale of FX to the BDCs and allow the CBN to no longer process or issue new licences for BDC operations in the country.

The members voted to channel significant portion of weekly allocations of BDC allocations to the commercial banks to meet legitimate FX demands.They also instructed all commercial banks in the country to create a dedicated teller point in designated branches for the sale of FX for legitimate transactions.

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